Myth 1: Men experience homelessness greater than women.
Fact 1: The number of women experiencing homelessness has increased and are now the majority of people experiencing homelessness, in all age groups. Women are more likely to experience homelessness due to experiencing domestic and family violence. The majority of people who are victims of domestic and sexual violence are women and children.
Myth 2: Everyone who is homeless is sleeping on the streets.
Fact 2: Homelessness in Australia is defined as a person’s current living arrangement is in a dwelling that is inadequate; or has no tenure, or if their initial tenure is short and not extendable; or does not allow them to have control of, and access to space for social relations (Australian Government, 2016).
This means that any person living in a crisis shelter, transitional or short term accommodation, living in a car, couch surfing, or living with family temporarily is experiencing a form of homelessness.
The majority of people who are homeless in the above situation (e.g. sleeping in cars; couch surfing etc) are women and children.
Myth 3: Women and men are equally at risk of experiencing homelessness
Fact 3: Women are at greater risk of homelessness due to domestic violence; part-time or casual wages (and other gender based economic/financial inequalities); no wages and caring for dependents.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, CALD women and young women are at greater risk of experiencing homelessness due to greater experiences of poverty, racism and other forms of discrimination, systemic barriers (e.g. barriers to accessing adequate support services and limited knowledge on systems and supports available) and family and domestic violence.
Myth 4: Homeless people choose to live on the street.
Fact 4: The majority of people experiencing homelessness are due to experiences of poverty and domestic and/or family violence and sexual assault.
Myth 5: Homeless people just need to get a job
Fact 5: There are many people experiencing homelessness who are employed. Due to high cost of living and rental prices for low income earners, young people and single parents, many people with employment are vulnerable to losing their housing. Furthermore, the lack of stability from experiencing homelessness often means people lose their jobs or unable to find new employment. Many people experiencing homelessness are unable to work or find appropriate work due to experiences of complex mental health or have a disability.